END-TIME NOSTRADAMUS SERIES (1) THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH
Foreword: I am not a member of any organized religion and I do not say “I believe there is a God” rather “I know there is a God”. The many who are congregated by belief are some of the nicest people one could hope to meet – up to a point (defined perhaps by their sense of being on the right side of the award for God’s Most Favoured Notion). Cold-blooded theology is the result of steel-capped or at least non-ironic scholarship by the convicted for the convinced yet it has its sensitivities. I apologize in advance if I have stepped on any toes through ignorance, errors or omissions.
The Book of Zechariah is sometimes claimed to be authored by a post- Babylonian Exile prophet who helped exhort the final building of the Temple (completed by 516 BC). It’s more messianic, eschatological and apocalyptic than any other OT inclusion and impossible to interpret fully as it’s a conjunction of two parts, possibly by two authors, and beneath its surface is quite profound and mysterious. Was it perhaps aimed at Jesus as its future reader? A holy epistle to the King of Kings!
(Nostredame many centuries later wrote his own Epistle to the King which is thought by me and others to be a feint; it is a message to his current King of France but seemingly addressed to some future ‘monarch of the Universe’)
It is thought that the Book of Zechariah helped the gospel writers/editors of the New Testament to fully comprehend the mortal trial of Jesus of Nazareth. Its imagery reappears in Revelation and in the Gospels too.
Matthew 21: 4 (Youngs Literal Translation Bible)
4 And all this came to pass, that it might be fulfilled that was spoken through the prophet, saying,
5 `Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Lo, thy king doth come to thee, meek, and mounted on an ass, and a colt, a foal of a beast of burden.’
Zechariah 9: 9 -10 (YLT)
9 Rejoice exceedingly, O daughter of Zion, Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, Lo, thy King doth come to thee, Righteous – and saved is He, Afflicted – and riding on an ass, And on a colt – a son of she-asses.
In the Early Christian writing titled ‘St.Justin Martyr Dialogue With Trypho’ chapter LII we find “And it was prophesied by Jacob the patriarch that there would be two advents of Christ, and that in the first He would suffer, and that after He came there would be neither prophet nor king in your nation” and a suggestion that Jesus at the Second Coming would be like a “lion’s whelp” for who dares to rear Him?
Chapter LIII then describes a foal as representing the people of Israel and an account of Jesus who had “requested His disciples to bring Him a certain ass, along with its foal” in confirmation of Zechariah 9:9 and as prophesied by Jacob also. Justin suggests to his Hebrew companion Trypho that “the unharnessed colt was a symbol of the Gentiles even so the harnessed ass was a symbol of your nation”.
Unfortunately it is a great task to place the Book of Zechariah into its time(s) of writing. Additionally we know of several biblical characters named Zechariah but lack absolute proof as to which one wrote what part. One such Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist. Could he have collected the first part, presumably written centuries before, and been inspired by it to the composition of Chapters 9 to 14? I have no particular right to say so but it is not altogether infeasible and it would make a great talking point should it have been presented directly to John or even written down especially for him to convey somehow to the Messiah. This is not conventional wisdom on the subject but as that is so variable regarding chapters 9-14, the rash of educated guesses presently spanning from pre- the Babylonic Exile down to the Third century BC, there is plenty of scope for further conjecture.
The text is not all explicit. The name Jesus does not appear anywhere in these slightly dreamlike sequences replete with heroes, negligent shepherds (a recurrent motif in the hebrew Bible/OT) deep criticisms of the Jews, renewed hope for the Jews and eventual rejoicing by them. At the same time it links Jewish destiny to a piece of land that almost obsesses this – dare I say it? – literary YHVVH, possibly suggesting an exilic or post-exilic composition.
Zechariah employs 8 visions and 4 messages in the First section and 2 oracular passages make up the Second. The gaps in time between his foreseen events are impossible to assess. Zechariah predicts the rejection of a coming Messiah, or Christ, by what will have become the old world and His subsequent reign over its new replacement.
Zechariah 14: 6 – 9 (YLT)
6 And it hath come to pass, in that day, The precious light is not, it is dense darkness,
7 And there hath been one day, It is known to Jehovah, not day nor night, And it hath been at evening-time – there is light.
8 And it hath come to pass, in that day, Go forth do living waters from Jerusalem, Half of them unto the eastern sea, And half of them unto the western sea, In summer and in winter it is.
9 And Jehovah hath become king over all the land, In that day there is one Jehovah, and His name one.
This new ‘everlasting light’ and a hint at some similarity in the seasons could be taken by Christians to mean the successful outcome of the Second Coming as described at the end of Revelation as a new city of light without any Sun. (Human Near Death Experiences are a fashionable subject due to routine hospital rescucitations yet may not be anything new. They commonly feature a wonderful white light with no specific source – so which came first, the religious revelation of Heaven or some ancient NDE account that piqued someone’s understanding of it?)
The YHVVH of Israel fits well to the original nomadic herding Hebrew nation. His ‘speech’ is full of goat-herd and shepherd allusions and the NT says He loves the smell of roasting lamb. A need to take over new lands to feed their giant flocks and destroy all people and property standing in the way was of the essence to such exclusive yet less civilized herding nations. To an extent they scavenged as they travelled around in contradistinction to the static city dwellers with their surrounding belts of food farms. The huge dust clouds, visible even before the herder nation crossed the horizon, could be a portent of disaster for a metropolis. Ironically in a sense, Jesus has revealed while speaking of the Second Coming that ‘I will come on clouds’.
It might be a mistake to take the strong nature of their religious exhortations as proof that the Israelites were a holy nation. No doubt they had that piety at prayer found in all poor yet exclusive groups but the many strictures on their life may have been repeatedly expressed in theory precisely because they were so lawless in practice. The opposite might equally well have been true, I suppose, but would not explain why the Jews are still here engaged in the world and prospering. I know an Asian hilltribe who are pious and have no thieves, no beggars and no prostitutes. Furthermore they detest money and reject it in favour of barter which they are not worldly clever about being such simplehearted folk. Their numbers are, of course, declining rapidly and they probably face assimilation into this wicked world in the long-term or else will end up dying-out altogether after innocently letting slip their lands piecemeal.
Thirty pieces of silver are given to the overriding and proud shepherd who dominates the closing chapters of Zechariah. In chapter 11 we may find slightly startling lines such as
13 And Jehovah saith unto me, `Cast it unto the potter’ the goodly price that I have been prized at by them, and I take the thirty silverlings, and cast them to the house of Jehovah, unto the potter. It seems the words ‘potter’ and ‘treasury’ could sound quite similar in the Hebrew tongue. The thirty pieces of silver discarded by Judas after betraying Jesus eventually paid for “Potter’s Field” which was used as a site for the local municipality to bury dead foreigners.
In the Book of Revelation are repeat motifs already used by Zechariah including his visions of Lampstand and Olive Trees and a holy fountain and Four Chariots, whereby the first had red horses, the second had black horses, the third had white horses and the fourth had dappled horses, the blacks and whites heading North and the strong dappled (hybrid?) ones going South. Is this the source of the four horseman of the apocalypse?
As well as foretelling the sad death of the messiah – for which one day the Jewish people will be sorry says Zechariah , as would later appear in Revelation: 1
7 Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the land. Yes! Amen!
– he also foresees a forced end to all prophecy, as is later echoed in Islam. Indeed, should a prophet dare to prophesy then Zechariah says his father and his own mother will pierce him (meaning run him through!)
Back to Zechariah chapter 11 where we find that the selected shepherd holds two staffs named ‘Pleasantness’ and ‘Bands’ or ties. Both are deliberately cut asunder (reminiscent of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice who spalted the broom – see ADDENDUM TO ‘Nostradamus Quatrains 191 and VI 11 and V65 : 191 IS THE REAL 911’)the former 10‘to void My covenant’ and the latter 14 ‘to break the unity between Judah and Israel’ or in other words to bring these matters to a halt.
The Prophet Ezekiel (Jehovah addresses him as ‘Son of man’) had remonstrated with the woeful shepherds of Israel in his eponymous Bible entry, chapter 34:
3 The fat ye do eat, and the wool ye put on, The fed one ye slaughter, the flock ye feed not.
4 The weak ye have not strengthened, And the sick one ye have not healed, And the broken ye have not bound up, And the driven away have not brought back, And the lost ye have not sought, And with might ye have ruled them and with rigour.
5 And they are scattered from want of a shepherd, And are for food to every beast of the field, Yea, they are scattered.
Any mighty and rigorous rule for self-satisfying administration reasons has no spiritual content at all.
Zechariah warns at the close of Chapter 11
15 And Jehovah saith unto me, `Again take to thee the instrument of a foolish shepherd.
16 For lo, I am raising up a shepherd in the land, The cut off he doth not inspect, The shaken off he doth not seek, And the broken he doth not heal, The standing he doth not sustain, And the flesh of the fat he doth eat, And their hoofs he doth break off.
17 Wo the worthless shepherd, forsaking the flock, A sword on his arm, and on his right eye, His arm is utterly dried up, And his right eye is very dim!’
I am in doubt about the Book of Zechariah over this key chapter, 11. Popular interpretation says it is all about the Jews in Israel including some bad shepherding of the people, presumably by the priesthood and other social leaders. Yet it starts with
Open, O Lebanon, thy doors, And fire doth devour among thy cedars.
2 Howl, O fir, for fallen hath the cedar, For their honourable ones were destroyed, Howl, ye oaks of Bashan, For come down hath the fenced forest,
3 A voice of the howling of the shepherds! For destroyed was their robe of honour, A voice of the roaring of young lions! For destroyed was the excellency of Jordan.
This sounds like a forecast of invasive sorties by aggressive Israeli troops into neighbouring countries like the land of Lebanon famed for its giant and majestic cedars? The oaks of Bashan – described as fenced, i.e. protected, exclusive, managed – were famous also. This was once the land of the giant King Og who brought an army to intervene in the march on the Promised Land which was them slaughtered in its entirety by the Hebrews, as egged on by YHVVH. The region has changed hands occasionally and now is known as the Golan Heights, which belonged to Syria before 1967.
One religious commentator has summed all this up as simply being about internal Israel, another has added that when the cedars fall the firs must follow (which sounds a little close to Bible Language satire) and suggests that these lions live in the bush alongside the River Jordan but exit hastily whenever there is a flood – much to the consternation of shepherds.
In that case, forest fires seem to be the order of the day but we are also reminded of Jeremiah 4: 7
7 Gone up hath a lion from his thicket, And a destroyer of nations hath journeyed, He hath come forth from his place To make thy land become a desolation, Thy cities are laid waste, without inhabitant.
(The relatively recent book ‘Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein’ is in print, by the way.)
We are then confronted with Jehovah announcing ‘For lo, I am raising up a shepherd in the land’ which seems to be a statement of deliberate intent. The identity of this bad shepherd is partly predetermined. He has one good arm and poor sight or no sight in his right eye. I’m reminded of the Islamist’s evil character al-Masih-ad-Dajjal (the one-eyed man) who will pretend to be the Messiah prior to their Day of Resurrection. Similarly Christianity has its Medieval interpretation of the Antichrist and Judaism has their Medieval interpretation of ‘Armilus’. In the phrase ‘A sword on his arm, and on his right eye’ we have a dilemma – does God smite his arm and right eye in retribution or has he suffered in battle or is this a some arming-up of an already flakey man in order to worry the slacking ‘sheep’ yet further? The answer may be in the phrase, ‘His arm is utterly dried up’. But in what way is his arm dried up? Is it useless from a debilitating affliction or did he suffer from the running infection of a deep wound, now healed and dried? He certainly sounds partially disabled. Is this the Antichrist/Armilus/Dajjal? He is an appointed shepherd of the Earth who seems a bad lot. Or is he merely playing out his intended role here on Earth to the best of his God-given ability?
To what extent may a society presume upon class features and professional performance assumptions? The following of bloodlines – usually by tracing marriage lines on paper rather than recording bloodgroups – has been employed by our social persuades for ages now but it’s looking shaky since the long-throw results revealed by genetics. On another level we are all given presumed and more-or-less fixed futures to work towards by family and school and government’s laws and society’s rulebooks. The Mazzaroth was the OT word for Astrology, apparently without Sun Sign horoscopes back in pre-Babylonian days. The subsequent casting of a miscellany of horoscope charts, including natal ones, implies different levels of predestination. Predestined personal characteristics, traits, tendencies? Predetermined earthquakes and eruptions, comets and hailstorms? Foreseeable organizational developments including wars? This might suggest an overarching universe of predictable scenarios involving Mother Earth, her children and their assorted tribalisms. Future history and geography could be made available in Earthly visions (some may experience that occasionally) mental time travel (we all do it daily) and intuitive imaginings. If that’s the truth then whose masterplan are we following, right here right now?
Zechariah feels sure it is YHVVH’s plan for the whole world as he knew it. After some punishment for rejecting YHVVH as their shepherd, Zechariah’s oracular chapters 9 through 11 promise the Jews a theocracy to come and a country for all Israel’s national members returned from exile with all sorts of blessings and, above all, victory to Judah. And a new King with a new round of subjects, after some violence and multiplication-encouraging winebibbery:
Zechariah 9: (YLT)
14 And Jehovah doth appear for them, And gone forth as lightning hath His arrow, And the Lord Jehovah with a trumpet bloweth, And He hath gone with whirlwinds of the south.
15 Jehovah of Hosts doth cover them over, And they consumed, and subdued sling-stones, Yea, they have drunk, They have made a noise as wine, And they have been full as a bowl, As corners of an altar.
16 And saved them hath Jehovah their God In that day, as a flock of His people, For stones of a crown are displaying themselves over His ground.
17 For what His goodness! and what His beauty! Corn the young men, And new wine the virgins – make fruitful!
Joy. Israel is saved. All else has been defeated.
6 And I have made mighty the house of Judah, And the house of Joseph I do save, And I have caused them to dwell, for I have loved them, And they have been as (though) I had not cast them off, For I (am) Jehovah their God, And I answer them.
7 And Ephraim hath been as a hero, And rejoiced hath their heart as wine, And their sons see, and they have rejoiced, Rejoice doth their heart in Jehovah.
8 I hist for them, and I gather them, For I have redeemed them, And they have multiplied as they did multiply.
This is the future of Mankind with the pleasant town of Jerusalem at the epicentre of civilization and its repeated history of blood and gore, as already viewed by Zechariah the ‘Minor’ Prophet.
Does the ‘Opera Nostradamus’ concern itself with the Antichrist and End Time? Very much so.
(See the articles LA CANNON’S NOSTRADAMUS AND OTHER WORLD’S END GAME PLAYERS and the EPISTLE TO THE KING)
But in the final section of the Article UNDERSTANDING NOSTRADAMUS: KEYING THE ARCH there is some other kind of ‘end time’ with a fresh beginning that is entirely individual and neither ‘national’ nor ‘racial’ nor ‘religious’ and is not necessarily contemporaneous with death or destruction – a sort of spiritual gestation and rebirth:
1555 Lyon Bonhomme
Le corps sans ame plus n’estre en sacrifice.
Iour de la mort mis en natiuité:
L’esprit divin fera l’ame felice,
Voiant le verbe en son eternité.
The body without soul no longer to be sacrificed:
Day of death put for birthday:
The divine spirit will make the soul happy,
Seeing the God in His eternity.
Line 1. Christianity and Judaism have differed about the fate of the corpse (when the soul leaves the body) with Jews believing that they will roll underground towards Jerusalem one special day. Presumably any extra pain is the payback for deserting the homeland. Now it seems that the times are changed and either every human body is absolutely useful or quite unecessary. Or else this is every peace-lover or vegetarian’s fulfilment day, with no more slaughter! Take your pick. My guess, which stems from experience, is that Michel means that we will be born again without the body being involved – it does not have to die separately to set our soul free (and we will not miss it if it does). But exactly when will this be?
Line 2. To be reborn immediately, without any waiting around, does not necessarily mean to be revived; it implies enlightenment and expansion of consciousness with a sense of true Self and a ‘goodbye’ to one’s acquired layers of false identity and personal history, in a deep sense.
Line 3. Because of this or some other God-bestowed blessing, a soul will feel both inner bliss and increased joy.
Line 4. The Divine (‘the divine verb’) will be seen clearly outside of Time
Both Zechariah and Michel deNostredame saw something of the future and both say this is due to God’s good grace. But that in itself does not make them holy, for who is holy?
11 Verily I say to you, there hath not risen, among those born of women, a greater than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the reign of the heavens is greater than he.
At that hour came the disciples near to Jesus, saying, `Who, now, is greater in the reign of the heavens?’
2 And Jesus having called near a child, did set him in the midst of them,
3 and said, `Verily I say to you, if ye may not be turned and become as the children, ye may not enter into the reign of the heavens;
4 whoever then may humble himself as this child, he is the greater in the reign of the heavens.
The message is quite clear; depend upon Our Father In Heaven-God-Allah, for all in your life without even considering that there should be any intermediary or official encroaching between ‘me’ and ‘Him’.
(Also see the Article ADDENDUM AU SUJET DE L’HOMME NICE: the Malamatiyya)